Masterchef contestant Christian Green will have a cooking demonstration on Thursday, Sept. 25 at his alma mater. (Masterchef)
Judy Walker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Judy Walker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
September 22, 2014 at 6:30 AM, updated September 22, 2014 at 6:33 AM
Are you a fan of Fox TV's "MasterChef" and New Orleans native Christian Green, who did so well on this season's episodes of the cooking competition? You might want to check out a cooking demonstration he will do on Thursday, Sept. 25, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Kearney Hall at Dillard University.
Admission for the public is $8, which includes lunch of the dish he's demonstrating. In tribute to chef Leah Chase, he is preparing her Shrimp Clemenceau. University students with a dining card will not be charged.
Green is a Dillard graduate, and his demonstration is the first in a series of culinary events from the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture.
"He's Dillard's own. We're testing the waters, and celebrating the launch of the program," said Zella Palmer, new chair of the Ray Charles program. "We're really excited to get him on board, and for students to be involved. We're going to have student cook-offs."
Palmer was named to the position, previously held by noted scholar Jessica Harris, in July. The program aims to be the epicenter for the study, preservation and proliferation of culinary studies in the southeastern United States.
"We're revamping the program and figuring out our next steps, working towards having a minor in Culinary Studies at Dillard," Palmer said. To be scheduled soon is a class on cooking and gardening, with program partners Seventh Ward Neighborhood Association and the LSU AgCenter. The program is also partnering with the SoFAB Foundation and, on campus, Dillard dining services, part of Sodexco.
Chef Gason Nelson is also scheduled for a cooking demonstration. Palmer said there may be pop-up restaurants showcasing local African-American chefs.
Top scholars will be invited to teach and lecture, Palmer said. She is teaching students how to document oral histories with home cooks, in conjunction with the Dillard film department. The Seventh Ward Neighborhood Association is helping identify subjects.
Although her father's side of the family is from New Orleans, Palmer grew up in Chicago, where she received a bachelor's degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Northeastern Illinois University. She holds a Master's Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, Canada, and has studied Cuban History and Spanish at the University of Havana, Cuba.
Palmer has lived in New Orleans six years. She turned down other opportunities to intern at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum with founder Liz Williams, which started her culinary career. She also has served as curator at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.
Last year, her documentary cookbook,
"New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latin Cooking," was published by the University Press of Mississippi, and she is co-producer of a PBS documentary with WYES about Latin American cuisine in New Orleans. It is set for release this fall.
The Ray Charles Foundation supports the university's African American Material Culture Program. In a press release about her appointment, Palmer stated, "My goal is to develop Dillard University's African American Material Culture Program by going into the kitchens, the communities, the classrooms, the farms and the organizations to bring into the light the living culinary arts and traditions of the south."
And in a recent interview, she said, "We're launching to go big."